From the late sixties something occurred to an american generation that would mark them forever. It’s a story of war, the battle for racial equality and the explosion of counter culture, it was a time when a generation rebelled, and lost its innocence in the battle against injustice. Vietnam was the first ever televised war, and the pictures were inevitable.
A decade which ended with disillusionment and anger started on a moral high note.
There’s so much to write about in this age, it is extremely difficult to select only 1 thing to concentrate on. Despite the fact that there’s an absurd quantity of artwork and design that stems from this period of time. When we discuss the”sixties” all we seem to recognise is the music, psychedelic rock and artists such as Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix particularly.
Album art and festival posters nevertheless is a fantastic place to start. 1 thing which appears to be re-occurring with the majority of the visual artists at the time is compared with”Underground Comix”. These depicted articles deemed unfit and prohibited to the stricter mainstream media.
When we look up group posters it’s not easy to avoid locating a Grateful Dead poster somewhere, anywhere. He was an American performer and one of the major designers of psychedelic posters in the 1960s. His work within the surfing subculture contained both movie posters and his comic strip, Murphy.
Here he later became a teacher. He was among the first of the rock poster artists to utilize photographic collages in his artwork work.His artwork and poster work has continued up to the present and he’s a major inspiration to rock poster and record illustrators for this day.
Another American artist creating a name for her self at the time was Bonnie MacLean. She subsequently moved to New York where she worked in the Pratt Institute while attending drawing classes in the evenings. She later moved to San Francisco where she met and worked with a guy named Bill Graham, who became famous as the promoter of rock concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium. There she worked along with another artist by the name of Wes Wilson.
The aforementioned artist Wes Wilson was also one of the top illustrators of psychedelic posters from the 1960’s. Working with Bill Graham and Bonnie MacLean, he had been a large part of promoting venues in the time together with posters and descriptive work for bands and musicians. The font and lettering of these posters from this era were made by him. He popularised this”psychedelic” font around 1966 that made the letters look like they were going or melting. This decoration is still used on newer records and art works for artists such as Foo Fighters, Kyuss Lives and The Queens of the Stone Age. This then proves the psychedelic movement remains affecting artists, especially in the area of metal, desert rock and stoner rock. The design is very much still alive because its staple.
Posters still influenced by the styles of art work could be tracked through homages and inspirations in stone and metal posters in the current all the way back to this age. A number of modern posters can be seen on the internet pages of Malleus Rock Art Lab if you ought to be interested. Personally, I find a whole lot of inspiration through their vision.